Aside from a few cryptic tweets, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Deshaun Watson.
The last time he spoke on the record, in the aftermath of a Week 17 loss, he stated there was “no real foundation in view” for the Texans. Since then, Houston has hired a general manager and head coach, and Watson has privately requested a trade and maintained limited contact with team brass while it insists it’s not even willing to so much as discuss a deal with other teams.
In short, no one is happy.
J.J. Watt, entrenched as much as any player in the Houston community for the past decade but elated to now be in Arizona, said he remains in contact with his former teammate. The crux of their conversations has seemingly centered on being happy.
“I love Deshaun. I love Deshaun; we speak often,” Watt said at his introductory conference Tuesday with the Cardinals. “He’s an incredible player, but he’s an incredible person. He’s a special human being and he’s obviously unbelievably talented as an athlete, but he’s also just a great person. I tell him, the one thing I want for Deshaun Watson is for him to be happy. He deserves it. And I want him to be happy, so whatever that looks like for him, that’s what I want for him.”
Watt’s decision to leave the Texans was mutual, of course, as he asked for his release and they granted it. The circumstances surrounding that divorce are a far cry from the current standoff with Watson, who is just 25 years old, coming off arguably the best season of his career and conservatively one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
While Watson has not publicly specified exactly what he wants at this juncture, Watt knows what he wants for his friend. It’s no different than what departing for Arizona provided him — and, perhaps not coincidentally, former Texan DeAndre Hopkins — happiness.
That’s been Watson’s desire all along. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport’s initial reporting of friction in Houston noted the Pro Bowl QB was “extremely unhappy” with not being involved in the search for a GM and head coach, after Texans owner Cal McNair offered to include him but hired Nick Caserio without seeking Watson’s input.
All indications since that tipping point suggest Watson won’t be happy until he can play elsewhere, while the Texans won’t be happy unless he plays for them. The pursuit of happiness in Houston figures to be a long, unpleasant one.
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